Silver Spring, MD—Following the announcement of Executive Orders to address the climate crisis, including a pause on oil and gas leases on public lands, American Hiking Society (AHS), provides this statement:

Tyler Ray, Director of Policy and Advocacy, American Hiking Society: “American Hiking Society applauds the Biden-Harris Administration for taking immediate steps to address the climate crisis, prioritize environmental justice, conserve at least 30% of public lands and waters by the year 2030, and protect and preserve public lands by pressing pause on new energy leases, especially on lands that had their protections eroded over the last four years. 

Pausing the broken leasing system helps ensure public lands are preserved, accessible and beneficial for hiking and other recreation for all communities, and are part of the climate solution and not contributing to the climate crisis.” 

Background: On January 27, President Joe Biden issued a series of Executive Orders, including placing a hold on new oil and gas energy leases on federal public lands, which would include those that previously had a protected status, like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. The nearly 1,000,000 square miles that comprise U.S. public lands are our most treasured natural resource. Whether you’re part of the 44 million-strong hiking community enjoying the 193,500 miles of trail or one of the total 145 million recreation users, these lands provide enormous personal value. Public lands are also an economic driver for the outdoor recreation economy which accounts for 2.2% of U.S. GDP (a larger share than the mining industry), 5.2 million jobs, and an economic impact of $778 billion. American Hiking Society’s public lands policy position statement is available here.